All Pakistani broadcasters and advertisers have been issued an advisory notice from the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) to ensure that all TV commercials are “thematically in line” with the product being marketed. The notice ascertains that the trend of advertisements with content that doesn’t relate to the product in question and is “causing unrest”.
A number of celebrities were irked by this notice, saying that the regulatory body was unnecessarily indulging in moral policing.
“The dance isn’t vulgar, she’s fully clothed. Is there something I’m missing? Why isn’t anyone talking about the more important issue: we don’t have enough gluten-free variety in cookies,” Ushna Shah penned in a tweet.
The dance isnt vulguar, shes fully clothed.. Is there something I'm missing? Why isnt anyone talking about the more important issue: we dont have enough Gluten-Free variety in cookies. 🍪 Also, #bantollingtonmarket
— Ushna Shah (@ushnashah) October 6, 2020
RJ Anoushey Ashraf too is never one to shy away from raising her voice and speaking out against the authorities. She explained that banning any type of ad would not cure the mentality of the people in Pakistan. “Cute how in a country where the most searched thing on the web is porn, one little twirl in a traditional dress is offending the saviours of piety,” she wrote. She went on to question, “How do their minds even register such stuff? Someone send them on a vacation abroad and help them see the world,” she quipped.
Cute how in a country where the most searched thing on the web is porn, one little twirl in a traditional dress is offending the saviours of piety. How do their minds even register such stuff? Someone send them on a vacation abroad and help them see the world.
— Anoushey Ashraf (@Anoushey_a) October 6, 2020
Further, writer and producer George Fulton also had some questions to ask, “This biscuit ad with @MehwishHayat that is shocking people seems to have passed me by. Can anyone send a link to it? How shocking is it? Is it as shocking as senators burying women alive, or children being abused by clerics? If not, I think we have other priorities to focus on?” he penned.
This biscuit ad with @MehwishHayat that is shocking people seems to have passed me by? Can anyone send a link to it? How shocking is it? Is it as shocking as Senators burying women alive? Or children being abused by clerics? If not, I think we have other priorities to focus on?
— George Fulton (@GeorgeFulton1) October 6, 2020
Mehwish Hayat, who is in the ad, was not at all subtle with her sarcasm and wrote, “”I don’t need your approval, darling. I have my own!” she wrote on Twitter taking any names. She simply responded to the situation with a simple jibe, not paying much heed to the talk of the ad circulating across social media.
— Mehwish Hayat TI (@MehwishHayat) October 5, 2020
Here’s what other netizens had to say:
Not sure if twirl is the main issue – PATHETIC content is! Why need women to sell everything in Pakistan be it mobile network to sundi mar dawa??
I would love to see an advertisement from ABROAD with woman dancing for minutes to sell biscuits. Admit it's a creative disaster!
— Rafia Bokhari (@RafiaBokhari) October 6, 2020
So children getting raped and murdered doesn't upset people, but a biscuit ad does? Have i got this right?
— Bina Shah (@BinaShah) October 5, 2020
All these people who are criticising #galabiscuit ad, have always remained silent over face-whitening cream ads that make women question their beauty just because of their skin tone. https://t.co/eq2cKPXuUS
— Beenish Fatima (@beenishfatima81) October 7, 2020
— MAK (@Mohdalykhan) October 7, 2020
Gala makes an ad. People show disgust. Ask to ban it. Twitter trends ban gala. It sounds like Bani Gala. Who is from Bani Gala? Our PM. So, people are actually hating on the PM. This is a conspiracy!#galabiscuit
— SaharMlk (@LadyPaindu) October 7, 2020
— Anam Tanveer (@ianamtanveer) October 7, 2020